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Downey – Jan Russell died on January 6 at her home in Downey within 3 weeks of a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Born Janice Patricia Lucken on January 31, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 16, she with her mother, Ethel McMurdie-Child, and stepfather moved to South Gate. She tripped the man she eyed skating at the roller rink and within a year they were married. Jan and her husband Don celebrated 69 years of marriage together just 4 days before her death.
During WWII, Jan joined her husband who was stationed at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro where she worked on the base alongside him. After the War, Don built Jan a home around the corner from where he grew up in Downey, and remain in this home today.
Don and Jan had five children each born and raised in Downey. They were partners in business throughout their married life attending to the bookkeeping of Don’s milkman, Helm’s breadman, street sweeping, and broom winding businesses, and continued to keep the books and run their apartment business until her passing.
Jan with her husband Don have been members of St. Marks Episcopal for 64 years. Jan was a Girl Scout leader and past Neighborhood Chair for over 30 years in the community including 12 years as the Co-Skipper of the Senior high school girls’ Mariner Scout Ship HOPE. Over the last 30 years, the couple completed over 18 generations of genealogy research on their ancestors, and through this have been united with family members unknown to them. She and her husband began square dancing in the early 70′s and continued to round dancing/ballroom dancing until her passing – attending dances as many as 5 nights a week plus weekends, and where they met, traveled with and entertained hundreds of new found friends. Don and Jan began traveling in 1966 and have traveled the world extensively reaching all continents and hundreds of countries, some multiple times including 7 trips to China, and have traveled several times across the United States in their motor homes reaching every state including Alaska except Hawaii, and have been on 54 cruises.
Jan is survived by her husband Don and her children Gayla Rudolph-Emerson, Patty Russell-Rohrer and Kevin Russell, and 8 grandchildren: Brian and wife April Wolf, Amy Wolf, Markie Rudolph, Rebecca Marrs, Matthew Marrs, Kimberly Fleck, Kelly Russell, Allison Rohrer; and 2 great grandchildren: McKenzie Wolf and Logan Wolf. Jan was predeceased by her daughters Cheryl Marrs and Debbie Russell.
A memorial service will be held at St. Marks Church in Downey on Sunday, January 22nd at 3:00 p.m.
Published: January 19, 2012 – Volume 10 – Issue 40